by Jack Neary
On Marcus Applefield’s right arm, a tattoo reading “Time Waits For No Man” is prominently featured. The graduate transfer from Rutgers explained that the tattoo means “no matter what you do today, the sun is going to come up with or without you tomorrow. It’s not going to wait for you.”
Applefield has made the most of the time given to him so far. His years have taken him on an interesting journey – from a small town in Florida to snowy games in New Jersey to playing in Scott Stadium.
The current Curry School of Education student grew up in the small town of Weeki Wachee, Fla., which in the 2010 census had a population of 12. This meant that attending Rutgers University, home to almost 70,000 students, was a big change.
“I’m from one of the country’s smallest towns,” Applefield said. “You just don’t see or talk to many people other than being in the high school. Meeting new people was not a thing. Coming into college I was an extremely introverted person. I wasn’t always comfortable around people. I think that was one of my biggest transitions into college was being a friendlier person, and actually engaging with more people than I usually did.”
In addition to a social adjustment, Applefield also had to make an environmental adjustment, going from the extreme humidity of Florida to the cold fall and winter of New Jersey.
“Growing up [in Florida] I thought, ‘It is way too hot and humid here, and I am way too big of a human being to be sweating like this,'” Applefield said. “(At Rutgers), we played games in the hail and in the snow.”
Applefield thinks that he has found a happy mix of both locales in Virginia.
“I feel like Virginia is a really nice place to live after college and hopefully an NFL career,” Applefield said. “It’s nothing like Florida. In Florida, you can watch your dog run for two weeks it’s so flat. It’s not really anything like [New Jersey] either, even though Jersey is one of the most beautiful states in the country. Virginia has a happy medium of everything you want. I love the views down here.”
Besides the environment, Applefield appreciates the social aspect of life on the UVA football team.
“That’s been the best part – the coaches and the players and how well I’ve gotten along with everyone and how they’ve accepted me so well,” Applefield said. “I’d say that’s the best part of my transition is the great people here. Usually you’re going to run into people that may not have the same opinions or beliefs or ideas as you. But I think everyone here is on the same page and that’s really good.”
To go along with his tattoo about time, Applefield likes to find themes for each of his pieces of art. Growing up in Florida, Applefield loved being out on the water and fishing. For this reason, his left arm is dedicated to aquatic tattoos, including a diver’s helmet.
“I just love the water, being from Florida and always being on the water,” Applefield said. “I’m on the west coast – the Gulf side. It’s nothing crazy – you have to go 10 miles just to get eight feet deep – but there’s a lot of fishing over there.”
Applefield designs his own tattoos, so each one takes on more significance.
“Everything has a meaning, the main meaning is just that I like art,” Applefield said. “Before I get a tattoo I always draw 20 different versions and then narrow it down to what I like and how I want it. Then I’ll show the tattoo artist.”
The love of drawing began while watching cartoons as a child.
“I love drawing 90’s cartoons,” Applefield said. “It’s kind of a weird thing. I like to draw in a traditional style. All of these [tattoos] are very traditional. [Cartoons] are what I started on. That’s what made me realize I like drawing. I would draw CatDog and Angry Beavers and all those older 90’s cartoons. Now I draw Rick and Morty and everything else that I like.”
Applefield’s legs remain bare of drawings for now. He has plans for each – an underwater theme for his right leg and a tribute to his grandfather on his left.
“One of my legs is going to be a tribute to my grandfather,” Applefield said. “He loved Elvis, and that’s why I love Elvis and Johnny Cash. He was one of the biggest Elvis fans ever – people called him ‘The King,’ I was going to get the guitar Elvis played – just the neck of the guitar – going straight up my leg and a banner around it that says ‘Long Live the King’ – meaning my grandpa and Elvis.”
Applefield has embraced each time in his life and uses his art to keep his favorite memories with him. In his current position as an offensive tackle for the Cavaliers, it’s time for another setting, another group of people and another round of accomplishments on the football field.